I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Love the focus on a) the right tool at b) the right time in this initial vodcast. Great opener for your vodcast series. Breath of fresh air when the well-intentioned 2.0 fumes gather too much murky cloud space over-head at times.

    Not sure if these D.I.Y. (or D.I./dy, if you will) vodcasts will supplant summer dreams of watching every episode of The Wire (finally), but looking forward to it, fella.

    And enjoy your time with Walsh and the BTL team this summer (and beyond). Anxious to see what y’all come up with, near- and far-term.

  2. You the man!

    Not sure if it was vimeo weirdness or artistic editing but there was a little jumpiness around 43-45 sec. This was good though; good message, entertaining. I’m looking forward to the rest.

  3. Awesome message! I think too often we see a new toy and get all squeaky about using it in class, when something simpler might fit the bill better… good message to hear, definitely!

  4. Great video–I’m looking forward to the rest of your series. There is so much bad video out there where you have to wonder–why did they choose this medium for this message?

  5. I enjoy reading/watching your blog. Are you sure you are a MATH teacher! LOL! No way a MATH teacher knows how to write like that–or are you cheating and really having your neighboring ENGLISH teaching colleague do the writing?! (Kidding!)

    Good stuff, Mr. Meyer!

  6. Very well done…but was anyone else distracted by him sitting in his trunk? Maybe I am just dense but I didn’t get it. Otherwise, excellent work all around.

  7. Of course the real challenge as you alluded to is the complexity of video. Just a guess, but I’m thinking this little 45 second piece took you just a wee bit longer than cranking out a typical post.

    While I applaud your efforts, I’m skeptical of its sustainability. Not saying I don’t want you to but wondering with all that its involved with being a great classroom teacher if you can carve out the time to do this regularly. Prove me wrong.

  8. Dan,

    I get your message.

    Can we also reverse it and offer the same to our students?

    Use the right tool for the job! Give them options to demonstrate what they have learned using the tool that works best for them in that situation.

    I recommend reading Ira Socol’s Toolbelt Theory post. http://tinyurl.com/4smk2x

  9. I usually find myself clicking away from a website when I land on a page that uses video to give the info I want, rather than using text. Drives. Me. Crazy.

    As Dan said in the video, I can read it (and get what I need by scanning if necessary) much faster than watching at the pace the communicator decided upon.

    So my three questions:

    Did I hang around to watch this video fully because I know him (through his blogs) and respect Dan’s view on issues, and I figured that he wouldn’t waste my time with this video?

    Will I keep watching after the novelty of these videos wear off? Or will I move on to blogs that use the written word that I can read at my own pace?

    Why did this message “do better” (or did it really?) as a video rather than as written words?

    Any thoughts?

  10. Mindy,

    Unlike you, I prefer video. Show me. Let me watch again, as often as I need to to “get it” (I guess I’m slower than you).

    Your comments speak to the importance of UDL – Universal Design for Learning. Offer multiple methods of:


    Even better – offer video (audio) and text, multisensory. Dan offered us video combined with audio and I will remember his point (and how he looks when he’s shaving and brushing his teeth. can’t get that image out of my head!)

  11. Mindy,

    Certainly we continue to explore the use and value of video. While I’m a great proponent of its power, it does have the limitations you suggest of the inability to scan and even indepth search.

    A number of colleagues are participating in a photo a day project. I usually view many of these photos each day. Another colleague started a video a day project. Even though his videos are only 30 seconds long, I haven’t been as faithful.

    I still say Dan’s efforts here a valuable. I’m hoping he finds a niche and a way to make this sustainable. There’s nothing wrong with one offs but it seems Dan has hopes to make this more than that. I agree with Karen, good video is preferred over good text. Not sure if that’s true for everyone but it is for me.

  12. Frankly, I also, like Mindy, click away from video posts – unless the author has already proven through writing that s/he really has something to say. I do watch much of the av material that Dan posts, but only because he has demonstrated in other ways that he rarely wastes my time.

    That being said, I just recently heard from a guy who dropped out of high school that what made it possible for him to pass math at junior college was the availability of video versions of the lessons. He’d watch clips again and again until he understood. It would be great to be able to offer key lessons to students in that form, but I don’t have the skills to do that yet. It would be nice if we had some shared collection of videos on key lessons.

    As for opinion pieces via video instead of text? Please don’t.

  13. H.

    Many students benefit from the opportunity to review videos of the lessons. They have control over how many times they need to reveiw the instruction to help them learn the concept. If we want kids to succeed, making videos available is essential.

    Math casts are available here http://schellenbergmath.wikispaces.com/Math+10

    and here http://math247.pbwiki.com/Mathcasts+Library

    This is a little off topic but I believe critical for student success. And this pushes my buttons since my son just flunked pre-cal (he’s on an IEP and we asked his math teacher to please upload math casts so he could review the instruction at home when he needed to. He told her that he understands it in class but not when he gets home. She refused. He flunked. Oy!)

  14. Dan, you made your presentation points with your content, and vice versa. How will that translate to the classroom? Don’t get me wrong–I like what you’re doing here. But like somebody else said, if you’ve got the time and the skillz to put together a decent vodcast that follows the rules AND gets the job done, then more power to ya.

    What I like best about this is your stance that we’re not just jumping into the vodcast for the sake of playing with our new toy. There’s some thought behind this, and in the end, that will dictate what you do with it.

  15. May as well have given Dean the login keys to le maison dy/dan for the duration of my trip to Washington, D.C., given how well he summarized my thesis in my absence.

    A few points of clarification / commiseration / commentary:

    I’m with Mindy, H., et al., to the extent that video-done-poorly is a waste of my time. Blog your point. It’s less demanding for you. The production / consumption process takes less time for both of us.

    That said, there are several vodcasters out there whose work is so precise, so mindful of the mechanics of video, so fluent in the language of film, I’ll tune in every time, no matter the content. I aspire, obviously, to include myself on my own list.

    Just a guess, but I’m thinking this little 45 second piece took you just a wee bit longer than cranking out a typical post.

    And yeah, it’s really time consuming, really hard. How hard? dy/av showed up at #15 on my summer to-do list last year.

    Dean worries about burn-out, about sustained pace and quality, and apparently missed the part where I slated this as a ten-week, ten-episode summer season, nothing more. I can’t do more.

    My point with this opening vodcast is that certain theses are too visual for words. The only reason anyone should move up the media food chain is necessity.

    Thanks for your commentary, everyone, truly. This will be a weird summer and the push-back from these parts oughtta keep my feet on the ground.

  16. Interestingly, along H and Mindy and Claire’s lines above, this first video has been viewed a little over 300 times since I posted it a week ago. This means I am putting in well over double my usual time blogging for well under half the viewership.

  17. Also, summer means slower internet connections for many – too slow for video, sometimes. Will get around to watching the whole dy/av series sometime, though, if a little late.

  18. I’m emerging back from road trip mode and catching up here. I’ve kept up with the readings but viewings haven’t happened.

    Gotta say, I’m not the video audience. Maybe it’s the time commitment issue. Maybe it’s that I didn’t watch much tv as a kid. Maybe it’s that my family has never owned a video camera. Whatever. I’ll go months of not watching something on a blog, even if it’s something I think I’ll enjoy, for no particular reason. This series is a perfect example.

    I’ll keep watching the videos, and pausing for the miscellaneous trivia at the end. I’m too much of a fan not to. But I’m not sure I’ll be as excited by them as I am by your other posts.

    The videos that I can directly rip for class are a different story. Viewed, downloaded, and filed for the future ASAP.

    (After the Simpson’s were removed from YouTube and I decided better to store things while I could than search for them when I needed them.)

  19. Sonuva … some of these videos are two. minutes. long! You can’t scratch your nose in fewer than two minutes!

    That ain’t accidental or for lack of content, either. I edit these things ruthlessly just to squeeze out a few extra views from time-misers like you. (Full disclosure: I share the same sickness obviously.)

    Fact is: I just spent fourteen hours producing an episode which’ll drop later this summer. Fourteen! I could write seventeen well-researched posts in that time, each of which would gather thousands more views than my last video, which played on exactly three hundred screens.

    In terms of investment-returns, these videos are a loss leader.

    I’d quit, except running this show is simply too exhilarating. This, more than anything I do on this blog, I do for me. Gotta keep telling myself that, I guess.

  20. Lots of sons today. :-)

    And yeah. I promise. I know they’re worth watching. I know they’ll be better for me than whatever other procrastination I have.

    But while you are passionate about video but just really like good video, it took me watching DVDs while lesson planning to really appreciate TV.

    The time you put into crafting these videos is incredible in a way I can’t begin to imagine yet. I promise I’ll keep watching them. I’ll keep sharing the word. I’ll go watch #4 right now….

    Thank you, Mr. Meyer.

  21. [scratch, scratch, scratch]


    [beginning inner-dialog here with a decidedly out-loud bonus]

    …when will they figure out that while the vid episodes are public, that the Dan-imation guy is speaking to a real and perceived audience, that there are absolutely nuggets of useful truth for anyone else trying to move from the watching paint dry on a teacher’s chalkboard video upload to something with legitimate editing/storytelling/visual chops, and that his future career opportunities will probably be front-loaded with these visual C.V. gems…

    …that that dy/dan fella is doing all this insanely hard work that falls (as he said) comfortably in the loss-leader (oh, my, a biz phrase sneaking into an edu-convo? grin) category…

    …because (drum roll inserted here)…

    …he wants to do it.

    [pant, pant]

    Yup, audience or no audience, this is still a learning process for Dan, ‘cept that he’s getting real world feedback and that he has an audience to consider when he moves from gut instinct to theme to storyboard to first run to editing to editing to editing to editing to editing to cutting out more and more and more to finally uploading to Vimeo land.

    Whether a single teacher repeats this process or whether he he goes to eleven (episodes) is really beside the point.

    For all of us that offer a daily call-to-arms that our students be lifelong learners and throw a bit of imagination pasta against the wall to see what works, ta-da…

    …here it is.


    BTW, Dan, I’m thinking about printing up My Blog is a Loss Leader t-shirts sometime soon. I’ll print in very small print But I follow @ddmeyer…so it ain’t a total loss underneath.

    Keep on rockin’ on with the vids. And any of us paying attention will gain as we gain.

    All the rest? That’s your guitar solo to hammer out!

  22. my thoughts:

    the stuff in the videos i’ve already seen in various forms in posts.

    in the time it takes to speak one sentence, i can read about 4 or 5. the data throughput for text is much higher than for voice.

    i can also tune my comprehension level while i’m reading – if it’s of moderate interest, i skim quickly. if it’s thick and intellectual, i slow down and ruminate on it.

    not only is reading higher bandwidth, it’s adaptive.

    you can’t do that in video.

    i’m sure there are lessons here, both as far as adopting technology, and as to how we interact with kids.

  23. Data throughput may be higher in text, but imagine how long Dan would have had to write to explain that concentric circles thing vs the 10 seconds it took to show it on video. Sometimes visual is better.

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, is video worth 30,000 words/second?

  24. Dan, just had a conversation with Dean Shareski and Donna Desroche today about this very topic. It began with a conversation on the limited tools I was using to build a deck, you a general complaining type convo. It quickly became a educational web tool discussion.

    Anyway, I agree with you in so many ways. I now am into the habit of looking at what I teach and trying to figure out what technological tool is most effective for me to use to engage my students. My only problem is limits: my limited knowledge of web based tools, limited hardware technology at the school, limited budget to increase hardware or software.

    The point is; blogging, podcasting and vodcasting should be as standard in a classroom as book reports, essays and worksheets.

  25. Eldon, you said, “I now am into the habit of looking at what I teach and trying to figure out what technological tool is most effective for me to use to engage my students.” Does it always have to be a technological tool? Can’t engagement occur with a well-designed lesson/activity that doesn’t use technology? I don’t think technology is always the magic wand that guarantees student engagement. And we haven’t actually discussed student learning. Engagement is great, but if they aren’t learning the content… what’s the point?

    You also said, “The point is; blogging, podcasting and vodcasting should be as standard in a classroom as book reports, essays and worksheets.” I do not agree. In a 10 minute class activity I can learn a lot about what my students understand/don’t understand (toss a math problem on the board, walk around and check student’s work, have a discussion of the solution(s)). How long would that take if the students had to blog/podcast/vodcast their thoughts? Would I even have time to remediate their misunderstandings?

  26. JackieB, I agree in that technology is not a magic tool. I am new to using Web2.0 apps in the classroom and have found a lot of excitement from the students. Since I started using technology in the classroom, I get WAY better results.

    I still think that blogging should be a standard in every classroom. One does not need to blog everyday or spend too much time on it. Once students have a network outside of their usual classmates, they will find their own time to create podcasts, vodcasts or whatever else.

    It is the networked communication that is focused on your subject area that is key. If your students are conversating with others globally about what you are doing in your classroom, the excitement alone is helping them learn. This is why I think blogging should be standard.

    ps. I don’t believe we need to abolish our old teaching assignments and and use only technology, but we certainly need to take a close look at our assignments. If the students are not engaged with a worksheet, they need something different. Technology allows for an enormous amount of flexible teaching and learning opportunities.